by Claire Graham on 5th July 202375 years of the NHS- what will the next 75 hold?
Today marks 75 years of the NHS. Treating over a million people a day in England, the NHS touches all of our lives and is arguable Britain’s greatest achievement.
As we celebrate this milestone as a digital health company that is owned and created by the NHS, Claire Graham Head of Customer Success explores three ways that health tech is transforming the NHS for generations to come.
The NHS is an institution that has been at the forefront of cutting-edge research and innovation for the past 75 years and continues to adapt, change and evolve to meet the needs of our changing world and future generations.
We have our NHS to thank for some of the most innovative research and medical advances, including the world’s first liver, heart and lung transplant in 1987, and pioneering new treatments, such as bionic eyes and the world’s first rapid whole genome sequencing service for seriously ill babies and children.
As we look ahead, embracing innovation is critical in enabling the NHS model to deliver better outcomes for our growing population. The UK population is predicted to increase to an estimated 69.2 million in mid-2030, with the estimated number of people aged 85 and older to almost double to 3.1 million by 2045 (4.3% of the UK population).
That means using IT and data more effectively; integrating health and social care; getting better at preventing illness, not just treating it.
Innovative digital tools and technologies are playing a bigger role in all aspects of our lives, from AI to apps for just about everything, and our health care is no exception. Digital tools provide an opportunity that if fully embraced can help the NHS become more efficient, automate administrative processes and release staff capacity for important patient care.
Here are some sure ways that digital health tech is helping to transform the NHS for the future and today:
- More patients will receive care from their home
Virtual Wards are on this rise in the UK and that trajectory is expected to continue.
More than 100,000 patients have been treated in NHS virtual wards in the last year for conditions such as frailty and acute respiratory infection, freeing up capacity in our hospitals and allowing patients to get care at home. That’s around the same number of patients who had a hip replacement last year in England.
Virtual Wards can release clinical capacity while providing patients choice to recover at home with the reassurance their clinical team is still watching over them and is only the click of a button away. Enabling people to recover from home and leave hospital sooner supports or avoid it all together supports both step up and step down care.
As the UK’s population ages, being able to safely monitor patients from their home for conditions like frailty and respiratory will help to ensure that patients are still receiving high quality care while releasing hospital beds for those patients who need close and urgent care.
This year Health Call has proudly developed a Virtual Ward in partnership with NHS clinical experts and digital leaders from the NHS . The Virtual Ward is designed to digitally empower NHS staff will providing the functionality and flexibility that clinical teams on the ground need to best serve their patients.
The solution isn’t limited to frailty and respiratory conditions; it is device agnostic and the thresholds, vitals, and forms can all be configured , enabling the technology to be used for any clinical pathway.
Clinical teams can make fast and informed decisions about patient care using a real-time dashboard and patient data that can be exported. With automated alerts that notify the clinical team when a patient’s threshold has been breached allow for early recognition of a patient’s decline even before they experience any symptoms. Helping to get the best health outcomes for patients while enabling teams to become more dynamic.
If embraced to their full potential virtual wards and remote monitoring technology have the potential to save millions of hospital appointments for people managing long term health conditions, keep patients out of hospital and support recovering patients to be discharged early.
- Care will become more personalised
An example of this can be seen with the NHS national drive to increase functionality of the NHS App. This year, Health Call launched MyHealthCall PEP, which allows patients to connect with services through their NHS App to manage their hospital appointments and access important personalised information about their care. This is just the start of the journey towards giving patients greater control and flexibility in how they participate in their care, as well as automating administrative processes, such as waiting list validation tools, to improve efficiency.
We are also seeing digital tech support personalised and place based care to help address health inequalities. Health Call’s Annual Physical Health Check solution is being used to across the North East and North Cumbria to improve accessibility of health checks for people with severe mental illness who find challenges attending traditional health care settings. Digital tools are helping teams find new ways of adapting and delivering care in environments that meet their demographics and patients needs.
- Enhanced Collaboration and Communication:
Digital platforms facilitate seamless communication and collaboration among healthcare professionals, regardless of geographical locations. This enables multidisciplinary care teams to share information, consult with specialists, and coordinate treatment plans, resulting in improved care coordination and patient outcomes.
Health Call’s Digital Care Home is an example of a digital solution that has successfully connect ed multidisciplinary teams across health and social care to create better outcomes for patients- preventing unnecessary hospital admissions and getting unwell residents to be triaged quicker and more effectively.
Embracing Digital health is key to unlocking clinical capacity and managing growing demand but of course, with these advancements come challenges. The NHS will need to invest in infrastructure and training to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to use new technologies effectively. Data security will also be an important consideration, as the NHS looks to harness the power of big data to improve patient outcomes.
Despite these challenges, the future of patient care looks bright with the NHS leading the way in digitisation and technology advancements. As we celebrate 75 years of the NHS, let’s look forward to the next 75 years with excitement and optimism.
For more information on Health Call’s virtual ward or remote monitoring solutions get in touch with [email protected]